The Absolute World Tower's mini debut
The month of July involved the completion of the two Absolute Towers, several successful animation experiments, and the start of the installation of our catenary system for our high speed “Trans Canada Express”.
We also welcomed a visit from Jason Schron of Rapido Trains, who ran an example of the VIA Rapido.
View from the SkyBridge
Dave MacLean has built a lot of models in his life, but nothing like the Skyway Bridge. When the bridge – officially the Burlington Bay James N. Allan Skyway – opened in 1958, it was the second largest steel structure in the world. It’s 2,560 metres long (8,400 feet) and carries 150,000 vehicles a day. Dave’s model measures six metres (20 feet) and has over 2,000 plastic parts. He says the hardest thing was building the eight-foot-span in the middle which is the section that goes over the canal. For that he used a laser that allowed him to combine individual parts.
The model includes miniature vehicles and traffic street lamps which light up. The process of ‘selective compression’ was used to make it; you select key components of the actual bridge to compress the character of the real thing, so the model is instantly recognizable. And it is. It took Dave about 50 hours to complete.
Employee Profile: James Steel
James Steel is officially Deputy Director of Fleet Development at Our Home & Miniature Land. Unofficially, that makes him a go-to guy for all the miniature vehicles in the displays. James is responsible for LED lighting in those cars, trucks and emergency vehicles, and he also helps install miniature steering components like motor steer boxes and other intricate parts. In a nutshell, he takes static plastic vehicles and does whatever is necessary to make them move.
He first found out about Our Home & Miniature Land after a feature article from Toronto Life was posted on the Facebook page of the Peel Scale Modelers Club of which James is a member. He then made the connection and was soon offered an opportunity to contribute.
James has a unique skill set which includes electronics, wiring and soldering, and doing all that in a micro world. He is self-taught in that he learned from books, the Internet, and other modelers. He is also a model airplane enthusiast who builds and flies RC (radio-controlled) airplanes, and he builds 1/87 scale micro RC Cars. In fact, James is also involved with RC boats and cars and lighting diecast police cars, too.
His favourite book is Escape in Iraq by Thomas Hamill and Paul Brown, and his favourite movie is Courageous.
Modeling the CN Tower
Building the CN Tower wasn’t easy. The real thing, which opened with great fanfare in the summer of 1976, stands 553 metres tall (1,815 feet) and for 34 years held the title of tallest, free-standing structure in the world. Today it’s the third tallest tower, but still no. 1 in North America, and remains an engineering marvel around the globe. It took 1,537 workers more than three years to build.
Our model of the CN Tower might be more modest, but it was no piece of cake to make either. It measures two feet by two feet by nine feet, required more than 500 man-hours to construct, and comes with exterior lighting in multiple colours, moving elevators with push-button control, and even the popular Edgewalk with little people hanging by harness over the edge. The cost was $25,000.
Built by JS Models in Toronto at a scale of 1:150, our CN Tower was constructed from May 2013 to February 2015, and involved 3D CAD modelling technology, parts cut by laser, high-density resin, and metal etching. The real CN Tower attracts more than two million visitors every year. If we come anywhere close to that, we’ll be very happy.